Special Games

Posted: September 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 72 Comments »

The Eagles shut down Brandon Weeden last year in the season opener. Does anyone remember much of that? No.

The Eagles beat Peyton Manning in 2010. I sure as heck remember that game. I remember them shutting out John Elway in 1992. I remember them shutting down Brett Favre in 1994 and 1997. There were a handful of great games vs Troy Aikman. The Eagles were so good against Steve Young in 1994 that he got benched and then had a sideline shouting match with George Siefert.

A lot of fans are nervous about Sunday. Don’t be.

As Bill Davis talked about in his PC, these are the games you look forward to. This is a special opportunity.

Be excited, not scared or nervous.

Sunday is a great opportunity for the Eagles. They get a chance to take on a Hall of Fame QB. These are the games to relish. Sure, Manning may shred the Eagles and win 42-41, but what if they play the game of the season and the Eagles win 26-23 or 28-24? You’re not going to totally shut down the Broncos, but if you can force them to kick some FGs and maybe they have a turnover or two…you can come up with an impressive win.

We’ll talk tomorrow about some strategies that Davis might use on Sunday.

The real key as he points out in the PE.com interview is that you must play well. You must execute. You don’t throw out some genius gameplan to beat Manning. As Gus Bradley would say…”do your F’ing job”. Cover your guy. Fill the correct gap. Make the tackle. Do those things and make a play when you have a chance and you might win on Sunday. Hoping for surprise plays and gimmicks that fool Manning is fool’s gold.

I can’t wait to see how the Eagles do. They may get dominated. That’s okay. If you’re going down, lose to a HOFer. At least you’re got a chance to do something special.


72 Comments on “Special Games”

  1. 1 James said at 11:51 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I have searched around reading blogs and looking at stats, trying to find a glimmer of hope that would point toward an advantage for the Iggles Enough of that. I think its better to sit back relax, and enjoy the game. We are supposed to lose, but thats why we play the games because you really never know what could happen.

    All we can do is hope that we play a team game and put everything together. I have a good feeling with the coaching staff that we have, that it will come together with each game played. Here’s to hoping it comes together starting Sunday!

  2. 2 Always Hopeful said at 12:18 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    This game makes me think about the Patriots game in ’07 when Feely ALMOST led us to victory over an undefeated Brady Bunch. We were big underdogs in that one.

    A little different personnel and coaching staff then (JJ was still holding it down for us), but my opti-hopefulness is similar.

    Let’s see what Chip and Davis can do with 10 days to tweak some things. Should be fun…as long as the offense plays a clean game.

  3. 3 shah8 said at 2:32 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Eh, I think as a practical matter, *if* the Eagles do not have turnovers, and *if* the Eagles get touchdowns in red zone trips–not easy, given the nature of the Denver defense, then the Eagles do actually stand a chance of absolutely plastering the Broncos like they did Washington. It only takes an early bad moment for the Broncos, and Peyton’s off to the races to try and make up for it. The Eagles offense, in terms of pure moving the ball, is totally lethal. With Maclin, we would probably have won all three contests this year, and look intimidatingly dominant offensively.

  4. 4 Anders said at 7:13 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Denver has 6 ints, but 4 of them came against Eli.

    I agree that Maclin would make it much harder to double Jackson and also stack the box. I like Cooper as a 4th WR, but as a 2nd WR, he is not cutting it.

  5. 5 Mitchell said at 8:58 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    The question is then: next year in the draft do you pick up a wide receiver in the first/second round?

  6. 6 Anders said at 9:00 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    I bring back Maclin and go BPA. I would love a guy like Sammy Watkins or Lee tho.

  7. 7 Mitchell said at 10:48 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Holy cow, what am I talking about! We probably need a QB first lol

  8. 8 anon said at 10:57 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    i’m fine w us going to FA for a WR tons of players will want to come and get their numbers up.

  9. 9 Anders said at 12:08 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    yea, but we might need be in position to draft one. I do not want to pull a Weeden, Ponder or Gabbart

  10. 10 Ben Hert said at 4:28 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    I think a lot of people are forgetting about Barkley when they root for a first-round QB next year. It was kind of funny after he was drafted how much the hype machine went into effect and had him as a legitimate competitor to start this year. Now he’s a complete afterthought. I don’t think Chip and Howie are dumb enough to take a QB in the third round of a “re-tooling” year and have no plans for him to be a future starter.

    I was very pro-first round QB as the year began, but as its gone on, one of the great things I’ve realized about Chip’s system is that it takes a lot of pressure of the QB to carry the team. I think this is the by-product of why he was so successful in college, as he was able to maintain a high level of play with a carousel at QB, whereas NFL offenses seem to be built for elite QB’s. This seems like the perfect system to get a young QB acquainted with speed of the NFL game. Having Foles or Barkley step in when Vick is inevitably gone won’t be anywhere nearly as tragic as a lot of people assume it will be.

    As shah8 stated last week, the Seahawks have had tremendous success with their approach to team-building over the years. We seem to be right on track to follow in their footsteps, so long as we don’t stray the way of the Skins and mortgage our future for one player with which our entire team rises and falls in next year’s draft.

  11. 11 Always Hopeful said at 7:41 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Does he agree to a “damaged goods” price, or does he try and get market value? Maybe he comes back for a 2 year deal and has the first year to prove himself.

    He seemed really excited about being in this offense.

    He would be such a great 2nd option to DJack…oh, well.

    Or he joins Andy in KC 🙁

  12. 12 holeplug said at 10:30 AM on September 26th, 2013:


  13. 13 Jamie Parker said at 11:57 PM on September 25th, 2013:

    I remember that Elway game. We held them to something like 80 yards of total offense that game. And that was without Jerome Brown. Good times. Good times.

  14. 14 Always Hopeful said at 12:14 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Someone has that whole game on youtube. I remember that one too, I didn’t realize that JB didn’t play!

  15. 15 disqus_jB7dl5fzvO said at 12:26 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    I feel like Denver has a chance to lose at most one game this entire season, so there is absolutely no shame to losing to them, especially in their house.All the Eagles can really hope to do on defense is try to win individual matchups until pressure can get to Peyton (hopefully Curry has the game of his life).

  16. 16 ICDogg said at 12:50 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Yeah, well, I guess if Kurt Coleman gets three interceptions on Sunday, we’ll probably win

  17. 17 TommyLawlor said at 11:00 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    YES!!! That’s the can do spirit we need.

  18. 18 SteveH said at 1:53 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    This is a special opportunity to be part of Peyton Manning’s record breaking season. Opportunities to be immortalized like this don’t come along everyday! Don’t take this for granted.

  19. 19 TommyLawlor said at 11:01 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Ha. Decent possibility that happens.

  20. 20 Ark87 said at 12:34 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    season? I’m more concerned about the single game records at stake! If we can prevent him from breaking any single game records tonight, I’ll call that a moral victory.

  21. 21 shah8 said at 2:27 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Stephen White had a must read column with really insightful criticism of Chip Kelly’s offense that I have not seen elsewheres.

    Well worth reading:


  22. 22 Jamie Parker said at 2:35 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    When an article says the Chiefs beat the eagles resoundingly and that they shut down the eagles running game, I stop reading. When it’s a 1 score game until the last few minutes, it’s not resounding. Giving up 260 yards rushing is not shutting down the running game, no matter how many came on big plays.

  23. 23 holeplug said at 10:38 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    That article was really really bad. I loved this part:

    “He did end up running for 158 yards, but that was mostly on a handful of big plays. On most of his 20 carries, McCoy gained five yards or less.”

    If you take out all of Mccoy’s good runs the Chiefs defense looked alot better!

  24. 24 Mac said at 11:05 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Isn’t that the exact opposite of good run defense? Isn’t the defense that is good against the run supposed to prevent long running plays? hahaha

  25. 25 A_T_G said at 3:45 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    My favorite part was the “major flaw” in how Chip has a QB who at one point in the past had the responsibility to call protections taken off his plate, merely running plays with 3 options built in on a routine basis, but has not incorporated calling audibles to a completely different play by the third game of the season.

  26. 26 shah8 said at 12:27 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    What I was interested in were the criticism about the passing game, not the run game.

  27. 27 mksp said at 9:05 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Without the pick-6 its a 3 point game. Amazing. And we had 5 turnovers.

    The Oregon offense functioned similarly. Bang against the wall with a couple short gains / no gains, then hit a crease and hit a chunk play. The Chiefs played well, but the Offense blew it because of execution.

    If they play a clean game against Denver, 40+ is easy.

  28. 28 BlindChow said at 9:22 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Without the pick-6 OR the missed field goal, it’s a tie game.

  29. 29 ACViking said at 10:26 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    If KC had converted its RZ opportunities into TDs . . . .
    Hard to play the “what if” game.

  30. 30 mksp said at 10:50 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    True, but speaking specifically about the efficiency of the offense, under no interpretation of the game did the Chiefs’ Defense “resoundingly” beat the eagles.

    Vick made poor decisions and Kelce snapped the ball to no one in particular. Offense was moving the ball well, even considering how well the Chiefs defense was playing (getting pressure and blanketing receivers).

  31. 31 laeagle said at 11:15 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    I’m assuming that’s sarcasm, or is criticism of any stripe “insightful” in your eyes?

  32. 32 Joe Minx said at 4:22 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Bad article. And some of the comments were even worse, especially this gem:

    “So, any thoughts on next years failure of a gimmick offense?
    Because Chip Kelly’s “Fruit Stripe” offense has already lost its flavor.”


  33. 33 deg0ey said at 3:35 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    The way I see it, my expectations are so low for the game this weekend that anything good that happens will be a bonus. I’ll be disappointed if the offense looks sloppy again, but outside of that I’ll be fine with whatever happens.

  34. 34 Daniel Norman Richwine said at 6:28 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Well said.

  35. 35 GermanEagle said at 7:03 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    If McDermott can shut out the younger Manning, genius Bill Davis can easily do the same to the older Manning:
    Eagles 41, Broncos 0!

  36. 36 Anders said at 7:05 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    If we just had the 2010 secondary 😛

  37. 37 TommyLawlor said at 11:02 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    I’ve heard that German beer is strong, but I had no idea it was that strong.

  38. 38 GermanEagle said at 11:11 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    It’s only 5 %. That’s similar to the Eagles chances of pulling the upset.

  39. 39 SteveH said at 2:06 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    My my, someones feeling optimistic!

  40. 40 A_T_G said at 7:44 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    I think the team should embrace the opportunity to do something special. Playing straight up, our defense loses. Davis is going to need to get creative. And, as we all know, creativity that works becomes innovation.

    • Combine man and zone coverages. Have the players in a zone scheme, but all playing with their backs to Manning so that his eye manipulations are rendered useless.

    •Rotate players. All over the field. Manning is a student of the game, but he has very little film to study of what kind of a look to expect when Cox and Curry rotate back to a 2-deep safety look.

    •Disguised blitzes. Manning is good at diagnosing plays, so we need to get creative… or innovative. Put Riley at corner, have him lay down and disappear in the grass like he did last year. At the snap, he starts army crawling towards Manning, unbeknownst to the Oline or RB. Riley pops up, yells “Yoink!” as he yanks the ball from Manning’s hand and runs for a touchdown. All they need is a coverage scheme to give them about 40 seconds for the blitz to get home.

    •Teamwork and timing. Davis should insist his entire secondary wear gloves that are football colored. When the ball is snapped, they take them off. When Manning throws, they all throw their football-colored, inflated gloves at the intended receiver.

    •Get the fans into it. On the road this seems counter-intuitive, or innovative. When Manning drops back, have one of the defenders strip naked and run around waving their arms in the air – Nate Allen usually doesn’t seem too busy – and screaming. The collective gasp from the crowd in the already-thin Denver air will create a complete vacuum, causing the ball to explode.

    Now, right there are 5 creative (innovative?) ideas for our defense, and I don’t even have any coaching experience at the professional level, believe it or not. Honestly, they don’t even need to all work. If just 3 of them are effective, we have a chance to win this game.

    Wow, I am feeling more confident already.

  41. 41 Anders said at 7:51 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Love the Riley Cooper blitz.

  42. 42 Ark87 said at 12:40 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    We can use the same concept in the redzone for our offense, just got to protect Vick for 40 seconds or so, easy TD every time.

  43. 43 Tom33 said at 3:54 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Me too. I wonder though, if Peyton does notice him creeping up in the blitz pre-snap, does he go with a simple audible call like “snake” or does he get creative with something like “sexy tractor”???

  44. 44 Mac said at 10:59 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    He can also mix in some Polish defense if he wants to incorporate some legendary Eagles stuff.

  45. 45 TommyLawlor said at 11:09 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    ATG, I actually used this as a post on Eagles Blog. Brilliant ideas.

  46. 46 A_T_G said at 3:47 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Cool. So this is what draft picks feel like hearing their name called?

  47. 47 eagleyankfan said at 11:17 AM on September 26th, 2013:


  48. 48 Ark87 said at 12:45 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Don’t forget to incorporate Kempski’s 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 defense, you are NOT getting deeper than that 11’th man, Peyton!

  49. 49 P_P_K said at 1:34 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Did you steal these ideas from Juan?

  50. 50 A_T_G said at 3:36 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    I prefer the term “inspired by.”

  51. 51 knighn said at 9:18 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    I will feel more confident about Bill Davis when we start calling him “Billy D”.

  52. 52 Joseph Dubyk said at 10:19 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    Nervous is if I think we have a chance at winning, but think theres a slightly better chance we lose. I’m almost positive, this crap team, is going to lose…. We have the 26th ranked D and a turnover prone QB…what could go wrong!?!!!?

  53. 53 Mac said at 11:02 AM on September 26th, 2013:

    I don’t know why everyone is so worried. The defense played well against a QB who was a top draft pick last week…

  54. 54 RIP Worms said at 3:23 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    They may have both been #1 overall picks, but do you really think Manning can match Smith’s 0 INT outing from last week. It is literally impossible for Manning to outplay Smith*.

    * Using the INT/game metric.

  55. 55 Mac said at 5:06 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Excellent point!

  56. 56 P_P_K said at 12:04 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Peyton has his best arsenal ever — wrs Thomas, Decker, Welker, and a 6’5, 250lbs te in Julius Thomas. Load up on the drinks and snacks, wear the jersey that isn’t guaranteed to bring a victory, and know there’s nothing wrong with getting beat by one of the best qbs in history on his way to the Super Bowl.

    We can get our revenge by kicking the sh*t out of the punk kid brother next week.

  57. 57 Ark87 said at 12:27 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    No nervousness about this game at all. 1-3 in humiliating fashion is pretty close to being reality in my world. This is a massive trap game for Denver, however. Denver fans should be nervous. They have nothing to gain here. Even if (when) they come away with a W, there are injuries and the possibilities of having cracks exposed by a team with nothing to lose. Think Giants showing cracks in our offense in 2010, then the Vikings busting it wide open the next week,, or even the 2007 patriots playing the Giants and Eagles during the regular season. Those games made a juggernaut look mortal.

    As for us, I’ll be extremely happy if we go into their house and compete, make them sweat. This is definitely a huge opportunity like you said Tommy. Not much risk, but a big payoff. Pull of a win in Denver and you can ride that momentum a long ways.

  58. 58 Weapon Y said at 12:44 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    What I’m realistically hoping for is a strong showing by the offense. The defense will definitely get devoured by Peyton, but the offense is still capable of getting upwards of 30 points. Denver’s defense isn’t quite what it was last year. If Vick plays smooth on Sunday, I’ll be much more comfortable. While it doesn’t absolve him of his poor play in Week 3, the timing of the Thursday Night Game might have wrecked Vick’s mental preparation for that game, so I’m hoping that over a full week of preparation returns him to Week 1 and 2 form. Particularly with an option offense, mental preparation is crucial because Vick has to be able to mentally pinpoint the weakness of the defense on every play prior to the snap and during the play. Again, Vick will have bad games. Even Tom Brady does. It’s just a matter of making sure his bad games don’t become a trend. If he’s done well in 3 of his first 4 games, I’m inclined to back off for the time being. If he only did well in 2 of 4, I’ll be a little worried. There shouldn’t be a definitive judgment on him until around midseason. By that point, the Eagles need to have a good idea if they are going to extend his contract or not, or even continue to start him for the remainder of the season.

  59. 59 eagleyankfan said at 2:02 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    If Vick is so fragile that he can’t prepare himself for a Thursday game, he doesn’t deserve to be on this roster. No excuses for Vicks play.

  60. 60 Vick or Nick said at 1:32 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    I’m still nervous. And scared.

  61. 61 knighn said at 1:41 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Is this Nate Allen?

  62. 62 Vick or Nick said at 1:02 PM on September 29th, 2013:


  63. 63 Ben Hert said at 3:47 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    I very distinctly remember the Indianapolis game. I was heckled and had food thrown at me in a bar after the Austin Collie hit. Not to mention all the colorful remarks I received walking home in my Samuels jersey.

    Only in Phila…err Indianapolis?

  64. 64 Ark87 said at 5:42 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Such a good game, had to beat Peyton AND the refs that game. I’ll never forget that roughing the passer call on Trent Cole, that was my welcome to the new NFL moment right there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvYhtFjtruc Don’t know who these guys are “It looks like Peyton’s OK”

  65. 65 xeynon said at 5:40 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    I wish I shared your optimism, Tommy, but this looks likely to be a bloodbath to me, at least on the defensive side of the ball. If they don’t get discombobulated by the hostile environment/gassed by trying to run the hurry up at high altitude, I think the offense can put up some points, but they’ll need to put up a lot to top this Broncos offense. Jim Johnson never succeeded in slowing Peyton down when he was coaching Dawkins, Vincent, Trotter, and Douglas – how is Bill Davis going to do it with Earl Wolff, Cary Williams, DeMeco Ryans, and Cedric Thornton?

  66. 66 ACViking said at 5:41 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Re: Manning and Trap Games

    Ark87 commented that this Sunday’s match up is a classic trap game for Manning and the Broncos.

    In the 12 seasons that Manning’s team finished above .500, and where he played substantially the entire game, his teams lost only 45 times. (Colts 42, Broncos 3.)

    Of those 45 losses, only 11 came against teams that had a sub-.500 record going into the game during that 12-season period.

    Of those 11 losses to sub-.500 teams, 8 came in 4 seasons — twice when the Colts were 10-6 and once when the Colts were 12-4.

    Also, one of the 11 losses was to the ’02 Steelers, who finished 10-5-1. None of the other teams reached .500 the year they beat the Colts.

    Manning’s greatest nemesis was JAX under Jack Del Rio — who owns 3 of the 11 sub-.500 wins over Manning.

    No other team or coach had more than one.

    Finally, the common denominator in all 11 of those losses was not turnovers. Rather, the teams that beat Manning ran, and ran, and ran the ball some more. They kept Manning on the sideline.

  67. 67 RC5000 said at 6:10 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Little bit too much of a puff piece for me. Please be real and do the we might win a game no one expects thing. You end up looking “smart” if somehow the mini miracle occurs so it’s a no lose proposition for you to say they could win. If it’s close you look good too. I kid.
    I just know Denver is one of the most difficult places in the league for any team to play right now. The team has an advantage in the altitude and then they have P Manning, etc.
    Denver was 7-1 at home last year and scored 30+ points in nearly every one of those games. You’re talking about an extremely difficult place to win, high altitude game, Peyton Manning. Yes great upsets occur.

  68. 68 ACViking said at 6:21 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    The late Howard Cosell — who made MNF into a prime time happening — was notorious for his bold and oft-times erroneous predictions at the top of the MNF broadcast.
    What made Howard Cosell entertaining, though, was when one of his predictions became an in-game reality, he’d bellow out to “Dandy Don” and “Frank” — in a tone akin to an excited cross-examining lawyer about to win his case — that he’d called it before the game.
    Really great TV in the days of 3 stations and a PBS channel.

  69. 69 RC5000 said at 4:38 AM on September 27th, 2013:

    Those were the days. Remember we’d say come on Don say something to put a halt to the insanity of Cosell and Gifford.
    Holy cow I remember that. Cosell drove me nuts though when he’d talk about the same thing or one play over and over all game long sometimes. Like a dog with a bone.
    Problem was there were like no shows or analysis shows at all back then so I kind of wanted to listen to them for info.
    Halftime highlights and then there was like a John Facenda play by play highlights show (Saturday morning maybe?) which I only saw once in a while because I was usually doing something when it was on.

  70. 70 ACViking said at 6:37 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    Re: Kelly’s System

    I think it’s fair to begin to wonder how explosive Kelly’s system would be without McCoy at RB.

    Great players make systems look explosive. Not vice-versa.

  71. 71 anon said at 6:57 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    BB. but be clear running lanes are wide open, scheme would be fine w/ a lesser back. that said there’s probably 30 shady yds each game.

  72. 72 Flyin said at 7:54 PM on September 26th, 2013:

    More plays.